“Aeramin, your father’s here.”
Aeramin glanced toward Imralion, raising a brow briefly before continuing to chop vegetables that he planned to include with the stew he was making. “Tell him to leave.” Aeramin was surprised Imralion didn’t already know to send Arancon away.
The voice that responded to him surprised him more. “I’m not leaving until we talk.”
Aeramin tensed up and turned back towards the archway between the dining room and the kitchen. His father was standing there now. Aeramin looked back towards Imralion who stared at him pointedly now. “Im, why did–”
“It’s not his fault. Come sit. We need to talk.”
“No. We don’t.”
Arancon crossed his arms and leaned against the frame of the archway. “I’ll wait until you’re ready then.”
“You’ll be waiting a long time.” Aeramin muttered as he turned to put the vegetables in the pot with the rest.
“I’ll leave after we talk. The longer you make me wait, the longer I’ll be here. You were just saying you didn’t want me here. Just come talk, then I’ll go after.”
Aeramin frowned. “Fine, five minutes. I have a stew to make. Im, could you stir this, please?” He handed the stirring spoon to Imralion as he passed him on his way to the dining room. He took a seat at the table and waited for his father to join him, watching as he walked with his slight limp and took a seat across from him. “What is it?”
“I’m disappointed with you.”
Aeramin shrugged, “Were you ever not?”
“Never as much as I am now. Your daughter is in the care of other people because you refuse to take responsibility for her.”
“Oh, you heard about the baby. It’s not mine.”
“I saw the baby. I held her. There’s no doubt in my mind that she’s my grandchild. She looks just like you when you were–”
“So what if she looks like me? She’s not mine!”
“All those times you told me what a piss poor job I was doing as a father, but you can’t even admit to having a child. You need to stop. She’s yours. Start acting like a father.”
“You’re lecturing me on how to be a father?” Aeramin laughed in disbelief, “How many drinks does that take each day? What’s your recommendation for how many times I should push her around while yelling each month? A good punch in the head every now and then should keep her in line, right?”
Arancon sighed and leaned back in his chair. “I have a lot of regrets, Aeramin. I wish I had never started drinking, or that I had stopped sooner. I missed a lot with you. I messed things up a lot, and I know I wasn’t the best person, but I never once abandoned you. I never denied that you were my son. You always had family to come home to, even if we weren’t a happy family. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t live with regret of how I used to be, and how we lived. I wish I could go back and change it, but what’s done is done. We can only move forward. I don’t want you to have those kinds of regrets. I want better for you. I want better for her.”
Aeramin sat in silence as he thought about what his father just said, vaguely aware that the sounds of the pot being stirred in the kitchen had stopped.
Arancon spoke as he started to get up, breaking the silence. “My five minutes are up. I’ll be at the ranger building if you need to talk.” He walked to the door and put his cloak on. He turned towards the dining room to look at Aeramin one last time before going, “Please, go see your daughter. Let her know she has a father, one she can be proud of.”